Chalk two more successful predictions up for Rich Russo, JL Media's SVP/Director of Broadcast Services. Below is an excerpt from "What would Russo do" from our May 2006 Radio & Television Business Report/SmartMedia Magazine.
This is the closing paragraph of what we published. Note that K-Rock in NYC is now using Kevin Weatherly for the re-launch, just announced last week. They also have Trip Reeb involved as a consultant now. He (former GM of KROQ-FM LA) was one of the folks purged last June by former CBS Radio CEO Joel Hollander.
Said Russo: "I need to go off on a rant here about NY radio and especially the CBS Radio debacle here. I am able to accept that replacing Stern is difficult, but I cannot accept with the amount of time they had, to have David Lee Roth come on the air so unprepared. It's unacceptable that this show is so un-listenable. It also beyond belief how bad Jack is doing here and how we have no true rock station here in NYC, WAXQ is OK for a classic rock station but really for lack of a better term is "vasectomy rock" The gap is so wide for this it's ridiculous, NY is the most important and most influential market in the world on many levels and it should have a rock station worthy of it. My beef with CBS Radio here is this-they have two of the most influential and legendary Rock PDs in the history of the medium. Kevin Weatherly at KROQ in LA and Norm Winer at WXRT in Chicago. Yet neither of these two ever seem to get involved in NY. Either of those stations just run as is on a NY station will out-rate any of CBS Radio's existing FMs and outbill as well-and that would be playing the stations as is without localizing it. It's unfathomable these guys don't have a hand here. Hopefully whatever ego exists at the top of the CBS Radio programming chain will soon let these guys play in NYC.
On another note and interesting tidbit as Jack in NY wallows in its own misery, Jack in LA is doing pretty good, did I mention that Kevin Weatherly programs that one. Call me silly, but he must be doing something right and we never hear him complain about how the ethnic skew of the LA market prevents the general stations from doing well-like the bullshit we get here in NY about how general stations won't work. It's pathetic and untrue."
CBS Radio then hired a top-notch sales guy in Mike Kincaid, and, as noted above, flipped NYC's Free FM (Talk) to Rock (K-Rock). Free FM in San Francisco has also been flipped and the WCBS-FM oldies rumor is starting to pop as well. Here are Russo's comments last March on the hiring of Dan Mason to run CBS Radio (3/28/07 RBR #61):
"This will be a cakewalk for him, he's a programming guy, a big chunk of their difficulties have been programming issues and personnel, in one wave of his hand, he'll probably turn one of the NY FMs to Rock, one of the other NY FMs to Oldies and in 30 seconds he can reverse the fortunes and perception of his company. He'll clear up some of the other markets and do similar things as needed. As we have said all along, it's always about programming and content, so at least now there is someone who is an expert in that. Hopefully he will bring in a top level sales manager to get it all on track. This will be a no-brainer for Dan Mason, it will be as easy as hitting a pinata without a blindfold."